Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stalemate continues in Jet Airways’ talks
Vivek Bendre


Mumbai/New Delhi, Sept. 12 The impasse between the Jet Airways management and its pilots continued for the fifth day.
The Jet Executive Director, Mr Saroj Datta, met with the pilots and put forth the management’s viewpoint. The talks came a day after a marathon eight-hour conciliation proceeding before the Chief Labour Commissioner in New Delhi on Friday remained inconclusive.
A spokesman of the National Aviators’ Guild claimed that 90 per cent of the issues were resolved.
“The management agreed to reinstate the sacked pilots, but we still have to discuss and come to a proper understanding with respect to the management’s aversion to the NAG,” said Mr Girish Kaushik, President, NAG. The sticking point, sources told Business Line, was a small technicality. The Registrar of Trade Unions has issued a show-cause notice to NAG after Jet’s management told the authorities that it, being an airline with a national presence, will not recognise the body registered with the Maharashtra State Registrar of Trade Unions. The management now says that if the decision in the case goes in its favour, the union should not contest the ruling.
The sources indicated that while the management does not want the union, the NAG is said to be holding its ground on having a recognised pilots’ union.
In an effort to break the logjam, a conference call was set up late in the evening in which the pilots and the management participated.
The pilots’ ongoing agitation saw the airline cancel on Saturday 251 flights, including 27 on international routes.
The airline also announced the cancellation of five international flights scheduled for Sunday, including Jeddah-Mumbai, Thiruvananthapuram-Muscat, Muscat-Kochi, Muscat-Mumbai, and Kuwait-Kochi.
AI fares
Meanwhile, Air India said it has not hiked its fares or over-charged passengers in the wake of the agitation by Jet Airways’ pilots. An Air India spokesperson said the airline is maintaining fares at normal level. As some airlines had jacked-up their fares to cash-in on the market opportunity following the Jet Airways pilots strike, the Civil Aviation Secretary, Mr M. Madhavan Nambiar, last night met representatives of all carriers and asked them to retain their fares at last week’s level. The Ministry also directed the airlines to deploy more flights on the routes served by Jet to help the stranded passengers of the private carrier.

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